“When I emphasize the indispensability of scriptural classes, I do not mean academic study of the scriptures. The sole purpose of scriptural study is to keep our mind focused on sādhanā – the sādhanā of self-purification and ego-effacement, for which one cannot fix any time frame. Classes and scriptural studies can only be a support for sādhanā and not the main focus of our Ashram.”
-- Sampoojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Thus Brahman represents the Ultimate Truth. Brahmavidyaa means “Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth”.
The Seekers of Ultimate Truth in India discovered that the Ultimate Truth – the One Consciousness on which the whole universal display appears to be – is no different from our own True Identity – the Self. So, Brahmavidya is equally the knowledge of our true Identity.
Brahmavidya, as exposed in the Vedantic Scriptures (Upanishads), guides a seeker to discover this Truth first hand, within himself. The goal is to realize that the Self (the real “I”) is the same as the Brahman (the Source or Substratum of the Universe).
As this realization is about our own identity, it results into a complete transformation of our inner personality. The practice of Brahmavidya expands our vision, sublimates our mind, and clarifies our intelligence, leading to freedom and fulfillment.
The pursuit of Brahmavidya has two aspects : (1) Non-interactional pursuit consisting of introspection, contemplation and meditation on the Truth as exposed in the Upanishads; and (2) Interactional pursuit to culture qualities like impersonality, impartiality, unaffectedness in any situation, acceptance of any situation, during interactions with the world.”
Narayanashrama Tapovanam is a place of jñāna. Here we have satsang – an association with the Ultimate Truth. In the satsang, Swamiji’s, on the basis of their own experience, experiential confirmation are presenting the beautiful śastras (scriptures) which deals with subject knowledge. The refered to śastra may be Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, or maybe Vivekachudamini. It may be another text, Srimad Bhagavatam. You will find, this, this indestructibility of your own identity is the subject of discussion in this Ashram.
People are wondering – ‘What is my identity? Am I an Indian? Am I an earthly denizen? Am I a human?’ The real identity is you are already referring to as ‘I’ and it is within the body, not the body. And on analysis we find it is not the mind, not the intelligence, not the ego. Then what? Something beyond that. Felt by everyone. Not thought by everyone. Felt by everyone. Not enquired into by everyone. So, make a little enquiry. Understand that knowledge is supreme in human life; that alone can fulfill a person. Any possession that you have, the body itself is left. And with the body whatever you have gained, will they not be left then? The house, the family, the belongings, the money, the deposit, the will you have written, everything will have to be left. The unleavable entity, if at all, is the ‘I’ yourself, ‘I’ oneself.
So, it is this knowledge that Swamiji's are constantly discussing in our satsang. Devotion is part of it. Yoga is part of it. Any other form of sādhanā is subsidiary to it. But the knowledge is the supreme. Understand that there is such a knowledge. What you have is object knowledge and what you further need is subject knowledge. This subject knowledge can be had only by a sense of enquiry and introspection. You should have a life where you think about matters. Try to evaluate them from the level of intelligence - What is this life? Am I living it properly? What is the relationship around me? Is there any God? You have to enquire.
Such an enquiry should be there even in your profession. Otherwise you will not have professional excellence. A professional should be thoughtful, thoughtful. What new plans and projects can I represent or can I think of with a view to increase the utility of our company and increase the resources and how can the resources be employed? There also, it is thought and introspection.
Am I living in the right manner? Do I need any qualities of the mind and heart? What is my life judged from the true mental and intelligential level? How to become good? How to become noble? How to become charitable? How to become amiable and loving? Swamiji's only want you to be happy, happy, happy. Look happy, be happy, experience happiness. Interact with people in a happy manner, amiable manner. This knowledge teaches us how to be happy.
Many people carry a wry face, sunken face. For smiling and being light, you need only the mind, the mind you already have. Understand the magnitude and potential of the mind. Mind has got infinite potential and infinite magnitude. With the help of the senses it sees the infinitely various world. The world of infinite variety and infinite distances. All these are captured by the mind. Can you imagine then the breadth and depth and height of the mind? It is infinitely resourceful. You are using some conventional notes of the mind. Believe in your mind. Have faith in your mind. Understand you mind. Mind is a treasure, treasure, treasure and make it so. Make it so. Make it so. Swamiji's always say devotion is a great treasure but the devotees have to make it one. A man who relies on God, I don’t think he has to worry about anything, anything. God is there to worry about and his worrying is much more efficacious, effective than your worrying about. Everywhere it is matching, matching, rubbing, rubbing your mind with the knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.
So, the take home from our Ashram is the satsang we hold. Understand that you are not the body but something different from it. Mind, intelligence and ego are the evidence for our being something different from the body. And try to feel it, want to know it and be zealous about the whole process. Be given to introspection, reflection and rumination, then everything will follow.
Sravana (listening to the Guru speak - it can be in person or via an audio / video or through books) , Manana (introspection, reflection and rumination) and Niddhidyāsana (meditation) are the main constituents of sādhanā - the pursuit of Brahmavidya.
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